When you are cleaning up the front of your home for your own benefit or to stage your house for sale, one of the first areas that can make or break the look of your home is that of your driveway. A clean, well-maintained driveway makes the whole front of your house look better and implies that you take better care of your house.
Driveways can range from aggregate types like gravel or crushed stone to solid, like asphalt or concrete. In between these two types is pavers, which are individual paver stones or bricks but have the feel of a solid driveway. Aggregate driveways, including ones made with pavers, are flexible and so do not have the problem of flexing and cracking from harsh weather.
Each of the different types of driveway material have their own requirements for keeping clean and in good repair. Gravel is the least hassle for cleaning; all you can do is make sure that you’ve used an edged stone instead of rounded gravel so that it locks together and stays in place better. A raised edge along the driveway will also help keep the stones out of your lawn or flowerbeds. Pavers, asphalt, and concrete all have a type of sealer that works for that particular material which should be applied as per manufacturers’ instruction. They may be power washed as well, though make sure to not use too hard of a spray to keep from removing the surface.
Every so often it may be necessary to repair your driveway to keep it looking its best. Try to catch problems as early as you can to make repairs easier on you and your pocketbook.
Gravel is fairly easy to repair because of its nature as an aggregate material. If you spread new rock on it once or twice a year as needed, then the incidence of potholes should be kept to a minimum. If potholes do form, put a layer of sand in the bottom and then sharp gravel on top of that. After you’ve driven on the patch a few times it should compress just fine.
For a driveway made from concrete or stone pavers, broken pavers may need to be dug out periodically or the joints between them filled with additional sand. Replacement of pavers is fairly easy to complete with attractive results because the driveway is made up of individual stones.
Asphalt driveways may suffer from cracking or potholes if maintenance is neglected. Cracks can be filled with a crack filler designed specifically for asphalt; potholes can be filled with asphalt cold patch. Both items can be found at your local home improvement outlet. An asphalt driveway in poor repair may also benefit from resurfacing. Resurfacing is done by an asphalting company, just like if you were having a new driveway installed.
Concrete driveways may acquire cracks which if left alone can cause serious damage to your driveway. If water gets into the cracks in your driveway in the winter, that water freezing can expand and break up your driveway further. Small cracks can be filled with concrete sealer while larger cracks will need to be filled with a paste of water and portland cement. For holes or other larger damage, contact a concrete professional to assess what steps might need to be taken.
First impressions are important for houses just as they are for people; give your home the best chance of making a good first impression whether it is from people coming to visit or prospective buyers coming to tour your house. Keep your driveway in good shape and show that you care about your home and yard.